BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech intends to raise $1.5 billion by 2027 as part of its “Boundless Impact” fundraising campaign, which kicked off Friday night.
Tech officials called it the most ambitious campaign in school history as it was announced to hundreds gathered in the Moss Arts Center, while thousands of students and others attended a free concert on the campus Drillfield headlined by rapper Anderson .Paak and rock band Fitz and the Tantrums.
The university plans to reach the goal by getting alumni and other interested people involved in the university, said Charlie Phlegar, Tech’s vice president for university advancement.
“You get a lot of Virginia Tech alums and you get them engaged in what you’re trying to do,” Phlegar said. “Hokies will get behind the direction of the university and they will participate.”
The school hopes to “engage 100,000 alumni in meaningful ways,” over the course of the campaign.
That process involves getting alumni onto volunteer boards, attending campus events or really taking part in any university activity, Phlegar said.
Based on his experiences Phlegar estimated that 98% of involvement in the campaign will come from smaller donations.
Alumni connecting with other alumni will be incredibly important to creating that engagement, said Morgan Blackwood Patel, a co-chairwoman of the campaign committee with Lynne Doughtie and Rector Horacio Valerias.
She said grassroots communication and collaboration will be critical.
“Over the course of the campaign we hope to showcase everything coming out of Virginia Tech,” she said.
Tech has had lofty goals for fundraising under the leadership of President Tim Sands. He has said he wants the university’s endowment to reach $1.6 billion by 2022. On Thursday, the endowment was about $1.4 billion.
The so-called “quiet phase” of the campaign began about two years ago, Phlegar said. Donations during that time lay the foundation for Tech to reach its goals.
During that period, Virginia Tech raised about $513 million with gifts ranging from a multitude of small donations to a $50 million donation by the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust and Heywood and Cynthia Fralin. That donation was designed to attract top scientists and hasten the growth of Tech’s Roanoke medical research center, which was renamed the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC in the family’s honor after the gift.
This is the fourth campaign in school history. The previous three were announced in 1983, 1995 and 2007.
The most recent campaign, “The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future,” raised $1.1 billion, including a quiet phase, between 2003 and 2011.
The campaign is meant to fund a number of Tech’s initiatives, including:
» construction of the four-building Global Business and Analytics Complex in Blacksburg;
» growing the school’s health sciences presence in Roanoke;
» funding the university’s new Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia;
» supporting experiential learning through internships, collaborations and other programs; and
» achieving the school’s inclusion and diversity recruiting goals, especially the school’s long-held goal of a student body that’s 40% underrepresented or underserved.
“We are at a unique moment in our history, grounded by nearly 150 years of tradition and shaped by a steadfast mission to serve humanity and take our place in the world as a catalyst for innovation that impacts everyday life,” Sands said in a news release. “It’s a challenging vision, the kind of challenge that always brings out the best in the Virginia Tech community.”
Phlegar said private donations are a major source of differentiation. Tech’s budget comes more from student tuition and fees and private donations than from state taxpayer funds.
“We try not to talk too much about money,” Phlegar said. “But the money is important. It allows us to do things. It’s an investment in the university, the state and the country.”